Police urging caution among drivers, bikers and walkers

11:39 PM, Apr 21, 2011   |    comments
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MINNEAPOLIS -- In a week when three people died in accidents related to walking or biking, Minneapolis police are urging everyone to heed the rules of the road.

They're also adding additional enforcement to the most densely populated neighborhoods.

"People just need to be very cautious.  If they're driving in areas around where people are walking," said Sgt. Bill Palmer with the Minneapolis Police Department.

On Thursday morning, 25-year-old Kimberly Hull of St. Paul was struck and killed near 15th Avenue and 4th Street SE.  Hull was biking on 15th Avenue when a truck turned and struck her.  She died at the scene.

Also on Thursday, 23-year-old Benjamin Van Handel of Appleton, Wis., died from injuries he sustained after being struck in a hit and run accident last Friday morning.  Police are still looking for the driver in that accident, which also happened in Dinkytown on SE 5th Street.  

On Wednesday, 38-year-old Tonia Sorenson of Hopkins died five days after she was hit by a cab in Minneapolis' Uptown area.

"I've never seen this many serious accidents in a week," Palmer said. 

It's why police have opted to increase enforcement in the more densely populated neighborhoods of the city -- Downtown, Uptown and Dinkytown.

"This is not about writing tickets, this is about trying to prevent family tragedies," Palmer said.

Meantime, Hull's friends say they'll miss the friend they called "Audrey."  They say the university senior loved cats, filmmaking and her friends.

"Just a great spirit, a great person to be around," said Ben Rozenberg.

"She was just a fun, fun person to be around," he added.

"She was lively, very funny, very caring about her friends and people around her," said Jean Park, adding, "I can't think of her being gone.  We just talked and laughed yesterday."

Benjamin Van Handel's family also released a statement, saying, "Ben was a selfless, loving person who cared deeply for others.  In this spirit, his organs are being donated so that other families will not have to say goodbye to their loved ones." 

(Copyright 2011 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)

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